COVID-19

 

Attention all APTA Virginia members:

The APTA Virginia has been vigilantly monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19 as this is unprecedent times we are all experiencing. In this time of uncertainty, we will continue to monitor the developments around the spread of coronavirus. As with all public health situations, APTA Virginia relies primarily on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General for the best information and preventive strategies. We refer you to the following resources to assist in better understanding of best prevention practices regarding physical therapy and your workplace.


 
You've got a Question? We've got the Answer! Check out our these COVID-19 FAQs.
 
A:< E-visits are for Medicare (nationally regulated, so it is allowed in VA).  Otherwise, it is a payer by payer policy for whether telehealth in any form is allowed, how it will be paid, and how it needs to be documented.
 
A: In its 2020 physician fee schedule final rule, CMS describes e-visits as “non face-to-face patient-initiated digital communications that require a clinical decision that otherwise typically would have been provided in the office.” The code descriptors for the HCPSC codes related to e-visits suggest that the codes are intended to cover short-term (up to seven days) assessments and management activities that are conducted online or via some other digital platform and include any associated clinical decision-making.
 
A: No. An e-visit is considered a service furnished remotely using technology but is not considered a Medicare telehealth service. Under Medicare physical therapists are still not recognized as telehealth providers. An e-visit does not constitute telehealth under the Medicare definition. Under commercial payer policies, the answer varies, so check with your payer.

UPDATE 5.1.2020:  CMS will allow PTAs and OTAs to perform maintenance therapy services under Medicare Part B for the duration of the public health emergency. CMS states it will permit the PT or OT who established the maintenance program to delegate the performance of maintenance therapy services to a PTA or OTA when clinically appropriate.


 
A: Please reference Health and Human Resources webpage. A relevant excpert: During the COVID-19 national emergency, which also constitutes a nationwide public health emergency, covered health care providers subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and provide telehealth services, through remote communications technologies.  Some of these technologies, and the manner in which they are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules. OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.  This notification is effective immediately. 


You may find these to be helpful resources:
 

UPDATE 5.6.2020 - Telehealth is outpatient only AND PTA can perform telehealth if a PT is overseeing.

UPDATE 7.22.2020 - In order to provide physical therapy services in Virginia, you have to be licensed in Virginia, no matter the delivery of service.

 
A: UPDATE 5.1.2020 - CMS now recognizes physical therapists as eligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services for the duration of the public health emergency. This change is retroactive to March 1. "...This allows health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others, to receive payment for Medicare telehealth services.” Read more.
 

UPDATE 5.6.2020: PTA can provide Maintenance Services. Read more.

If you still can't find the answer, please contact us at vpta@vpta.org.